Welcome to another edition of “8 Questions with…..”
I have been following the career of our next guest,the lovely and bad ass Karen Cliche since 2002.
Back in the late 90s and going through the early years of the 2000s,there was a whole slew of syndicticated TV shows were being shown on TV.
The first time I watched Karen,she was co-starring with Michael Biehn of Terminator fame in a very cool show called “Adventure,Inc” which came out in 2002. The show featured Karen,Michael and another rising star in Jesse Nilsson as a team of globe trotting adventure seekers who looked for for treasue but also to help people.
Karen played Mackenzie Previn and she just lit up the screen. The show was so much fun and it looked like a hit that could run for years but tragedy struck when Jesse passed away from pneumonia related heart failure on 25 April. His death led to show being cancelled.
But Karen was was quickly cast into the hit series “Mutant X” which out shortly after the “X-Men” movie hit the theaters. The series featured four very gifted mutants led by a scientist who operated out of a secret base and fought threats all over the world while helping people who are discovering their powers.
In season three,one of the main characters was killed off and Karen was brought in to replace her on the team. She played Lexa Pierce whose light powers reminded me of Dazzler from Marvel Comics. Her character was shrouded in gray,you weren’t share if the team could trust her. Karen gave Lexa real heart and conflict as she was looking for her lost brother and that was her main goal when joing the team. Again,Karen sparkled in her role and once again,the show she was on was unexpectedly cancelled when the production company went bankrupt.
I was pretty bummed when Mutant X was cancelled but I also knew I was a Karen Cliche fan and would watch her in anything. I was hooked….
Whenever I ask for interviews,its pretty straight forward,I will ask the person if they wish to chat with me and and if they say yes,we talk. But I admit,I was a little star struck by the idea of asking Karen for a interview and for six months I would try to gather the nerve to ask her to chat with me. I didn’t want to ask and get shot down,I was really nervous and that so rarely happens to me.
As it turns out,I had nothing fear,Karen responded right away and agreed to do this interview with. I really hope you will enjoy this interview of the one the multi-talented artists out there,Karen is really awesome. That said,let me get out of the way so you can get to see Karen answer her 8 Questions……
How has the pandemic been treating you? How have you been staying busy from a creative standpoint?
The pandemic has definitely affected my life in that we kept our daughter home from school so she is virtual learning. She is a great kid and super responsible so that has made things easier, but I am still having to be home and available all day, every hour so I don’t get much else done! I also used to work in and manage promo events at festivals, so that obviously went away, which was so sad to me. It was such a lively and social experience and I miss it so much. I do some voice work as well as maybe one movie a year, and some volunteering with a women’s shelter here in Ottawa. Otherwise lots of outdoor walks and keeping my daughter’s spirits up while we wait this whole thing out.
How did you get started in the acting business? Was it easy to break into the business living in Quebec?
I was fortunate that I started working as an actress soon after I started auditioning. I was never formally trained, I think I just understood human behavior ( hence my interest in psychology) and had been top of my class in drama throughout high school, and I “acted” alone in my room all through my childhood haha. Because we moved around a lot and I was often the new girl in school, I learned how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, which is half the battle!
What was the reaction of your family when you told them you wanted to become an actress?
I always wanted to be an actress, but had a back up plan by studying psychology, and had interests in other things like advertising and marketing. So my mom was aware of my dream but still asked when I was “going back to school” even when I had 10 tv shows under under my belt lol. I don’t come from a showbiz or artistic family so this was totally outside the box for them!
What was it like when you won your first role in a film? What do you remember from the experience?
My first role was as a receptionist in a movie with Casper Van Dien and Rick Fox- both who were super nice and so kind to me. I thought it was such a cool experience, full of positivity.
What three things did you learn that helped you most in your career?
I know for a fact that a good reputation is key. I was offered a few roles ( Mutant X was one of them) based on being easy to work with and my work ethic. So being a kind, fun person is an asset in all aspects of life. Never understood how jerks get ahead!
I also think that the fact that I am an army brat, and wasn’t raised to be “girly”, helped me in the type of roles I landed. The “tough girl” and strong characters were easier for me to play because of this. So it was was a blessing to have been raised this way!
The third thing that helped me was that I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to stay in Canada, and do my job. Never wanted the paparazzi, the being recognized outside of work. I believe this helped balance out my feelings when work slowed down, or when I transitioned into other career choices. I wasn’t hooked on the fame or identified myself as this other person. I was always just goofy me!
You have been in so many good shows that should have been big hits but were struck by tragedy and misfortune,how did you handle this both personally and professionally?
Ugh yes, at one point I thought it was a curse! lol. We were so bummed about Vampire High, which was all of our first show, was such a great time in our lives, so young and excited! Adventure inc- who could ask for more fun! Travel, guns, action….and my dear friend and costar Jesse who sadly died soon after we wrapped. The Mutant X was too bad, I loved that show. The cast, crew….and met my hubby on it too 🙂 He was the assistant boom op. Young Blades I adored, what a great show but I think the network PAX was disolved so that died. Flash Gordon I was actually happy about because at that point, I just wanted to be a mom, so as soon as we got the news, we got to trying! I handled these losses pretty well most of the time. I knew how lucky I was to even have this many series leads on my resume, but as an actor, we are so often out of work and back to hoping for a new gig, you kind of get used to it. I was also never attached to “my big break”- to the point where looking back, I should have worked it more, and been more ambitious, but I just wanted to stay as normal as possible.
What is your process like in approaching a new role? What do you do to get ready for a part?
Well, I make sure I understand the role, the purpose of the character in the script, then add my own little spice to it as we go!
What is your favorite type of role to play?
Love action roles and comedies!
How has marriage and motherhood changed you?
Definitely opened up a super soft place and trust for me that I only truly allowed to animals until then haha. It’s so fun to see your kid grow up and become this wonderful human being and guide her along. Plus she is super funny so we laugh all the time!
Which of the roles you have played are you most proud of and what makes it so special?
I love all the roles I have played to be honest, but I am proud of a lifetime movie I did called Killer Mom a few years ago. Was so fun to play a villain pretending to be “good”- I got to play 2 sides all the time which was so fun. Also so proud of Young Blades- where I disguised as a man most of the show, and mastered sword fighting, horseback riding, and got a lot of beautiful feedback from girls about this role.
How did you get your start as an independent marketing and brand spokesperson? How important has promotion become in today’s world?
Super important. Especially on social media. I never understand brands of people who follow you then unfollow once they get their follow back. I will literally NEVER buy their stuff again after that. True and honest connection with customers in such a saturated market is essential. You have to engage with customers to make them feel special and connect with your brand. I grew up working at Mcdonald’s as a teenager when customer service was EVERYTHING. It really engrained in me that you have to make the customer feel good to well represent your brand.
You show some awesome looking vegetarian dishes on your Instagram page. How long have you been a vegetarian and what led you to embrace diet? What are some of your favorite dishes?
I have always been very picky about meat, seafood, animal products. I don’t like a lot of them and also really care about the treatment of animals. So my 9 year old daughter actually chose to become vegetarian after connecting that her bacon used to be a pig. So we cut down a lot from there, then a year later I decided to fully commit as well. I dabble with veganism too, but this one is tougher for me!
I love indian food! Lots of vegetarian options, and so many great food bloggers out there makingdelish vegan/veg food like Hot For Food. She is Canadian and I love her stuff.
Do you stay in touch with the “Mutant X” cast?
Yes! Vicky Pratt and I touch base every once in a while on social media and text, I love her! Forbes and I too but he is no longer on social media much. I love working with him as well!
What do you like to do for fun when you are not working?
Do you have any causes that you champion for?
I love hiking and cooking, having cocktails and long conversations with friends. Laughing is essential! I have always been somewhat of a warrior and stand up for what I believe in often. Women’s equality and safety is always my top priority. Coming from a home where there was domestic abuse, I felt a need to use my experience and empathy for good. So at 18 I started volunteering at women’s shelter and haven’t stopped since. I am on the volunteer fundraising committee at Harmony House here in Ottawa. I also donate and support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that saves elephants and other wildlife in Africa, as well as the humane societie in Ottawa. I used to sponsor 2 girls in Thailand and the Philippines through World Vision for 10 years until the became self sufficient and we able to grow up safe from the horrible sex trafficking tourism industry that is rampant out there ( and her as well).
The cheetah and I are flying out to check out your newest film’s premiere but we’re a day early and now you have to play tour guide,what are we doing?
I have been in Ottawa 5 years now and it is such a great outdoorsy place. Lots of trails and walks by the canal in both winter and summer. Take your cheetah for a beautiful walk and grab lunch on a patio!
I like to thank Karen for doing this interview with me and I totally apologize for the uneven layout,Word Press has forced a new format on its users and has made using the new editing suite needlessly difficult.
You can keep track on what Karen is doing next in her career by going to her IMDb page here.
You follow Karen on her very charming delightful Instagram page.
You can read why Karen was selected as one of Canada’s most dynamic women here.
Feel free to drop a comment below and share with your friends and peers!!!